Friday, July 08, 2016

Weather Windows

What is the weather doing on Mount Rainier? The age old questions that is on everyone mind when they come to climb the mountain, or is it? Many climbers plan months in advance, travel long distances, and sacrifice many other things to make their one trip to climb the Mountain. No matter how much planning goes into a trip their are always those unexpected obstacles we can't control like the weather. So what are you going to do about it?
Early Spring Conditions on Mount Rainier
There are so many weather tools out their today that provide us with the latest and greatest forecast, giving hour by hour in-depth information, but many of us don't know how to read or have the time to learn how to interpret these fancy graphs and flow charts.  So many climbers just ask the expert when is the best time to climb while they are here on their trip. What is my weather window? The new age question climber want to know.
So what is a weather window and how does it relate to climbing Mount Rainier? Many new aspiring mountaineers have preconceived ideas of what this may encompass. When do I start? How many hours? What is my turn around time? All good thoughts but in the grand scheme these questions are small picture thinking.  Weather windows at Mount Rainier should be measured in days not hours. The vast majority of people attempting a climb will take 3 days, and on the summit day from a high camp will take most of a day (8-14 hours) to complete.  Big picture high pressure vs. low pressure weather patterns are important to pay attention to. High pressure weather systems (called ridges) will provide you with the best weather window for making a successful climb. Climbing during a low pressure weather systems (call troughs) can have its successes but can be limited and challenging in possibly hazardous conditions.
Make sure to check the synopsis paragraph on the Mount Rainier Recreational Forecast
It will give you best up to date big picture view of what is happening at Mount Rainier and the surrounding area.